After taking down my tent and staring the packing process, I went for my walk up the arroyo. In the morning the walls were steep enough to cast shadows big enough for me to walk in half of the way. This arroyo did not go nearly as far as the one a few days ago, but had other interesting features to look at. There were all the little caves in the sides of the canyon, some so small it was like large bubbles in the rock. There were little arches in the rocks near the floor and dikes of red basalt sticking out of green sandstone cliffs. All too soon the arroyo ended in a jumble of huge boulders, many 10 meters in diameter. Water had flowed over and through these, carving channels on the tops of them and leaving flat pools of sand between them. I scrambled under over and between these until I was near the top of the jumble with a view back down to the last turn in the arroyo. After a rest I headed back to the kayaks to finish my packing.
I had brought a GPS unit clipped on the back of my Palm Pilot this trip. There was only enough power in my batteries to turn it on for a few minutes each evening, record our position and check how many miles to our final landing spot. (I had put down a waypoint when we dropped off the cars). The distance left to travel always turned out to be less than we expected, and this was used to justify our recent layover day and our late start this day. We were so close to the cars that we decided to finish the kayak trip today and do some side trips on the way home with the extra time.
As we were finishing our packing, a couple of pongas full of fishermen landed a little way up the beach. The young boys in these families built up their courage one at a time to approach the crazy gringos and soon we were surrounded by curious natives. We handed out some of our extra candy and other treats to them and waved goodbye when we launched into the water.
We came to a crack in a vertical sandstone cliff that had a beautiful arch high up over the water. The bottom of the arch shrank down into the crack that extended down the cliff to a dark triangle at the waterline. I stuck the nose of my boat into this triangle to find that it was a cave going into the cliff. Inside it got dark and there was a pillar in the middle of the cave that I could paddle all the way around. As I went behind the large pillar it got so dark that the only thing I could see was the cheep plastic Virgin glowing on the bow of my kayak! Penny, Joe and Mary Marcia followed me into this cave. Bob and John were deep in conversation and paddled right past it without looking in. We told them afterwards that they had missed the best cave of the whole trip!
We traveled down a coastline becoming increasingly crowded. There were fishing boats and gringos in cruising boats. We paddled around a huge loading dock for a gypsum mine. From there we could see the fishing camp where we would land for the end of this trip. Beyond the fishing camp the main Highway One follows the shore and it becomes more crowded and accessible, less wild. Iím starting to think I have already seen the best coastline that the Sea of Cortez has to offer and I will not need to paddle any farther south than this. But I will come back to explore some of the offshore islands in more detail one day soon. I want to paddle around Isla Angel de la Guarda, and I want to island hop across the midriff islands to the mainland and back one day.